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2012-06-07

Bandera honors its fallen on Memorial Day

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

During his benediction at the Bandera Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 28, in front of the county courthouse, William Bowie read an appropriate portion of Psalm 20:

"The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
"They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm."

The Biblical passage underscored the theme of the day, remembering and honoring the country and county's fallen warriors. As the keynote speaker later remarked, "This day is not about picnics and parades, it's about remembering those who made our way of life possible."

In his opening remarks, Charlie Baker of Bandera American Legion Post 157 noted that not all deaths associated with war and military incursions occur on the battlefield. He referred to the passing of Vietnam veterans "who put themselves in harm's way" and suffered lingering deleterious effects after being exposed to the defoliant now known as Agent Orange.

For the second year, retired United States Marine Corps Col. Marshall Considine III served as keynote speaker. A 26-year veteran, Considine served in Fallujah during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began in April 2003.

During the invasion of Iraq coalition forces from the US, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in just 21 days of major combat operations.

Recalling the nearly 4,500 American servicemen and women who lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Considine said, "Most were less than 25 years old. They will remain forever young in the eyes of their loved ones."

Quoting John 15:13, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends," Considine also offered many instances of Marines sacrificing their lives to preserve the lives of their brothers in arms.

Perhaps most prominent among his recollections was the action of Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who served with 3rd Battalion 7th Marines during the Iraq War. Dunham's unit was attacked while on a patrol in Husaybah. To save nearby Marines, he deliberately fell on an enemy grenade, suffering serious injuries.

Dunham died eight days later at a military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. For his actions, Dunham was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor - the first Marine to receive the nation's highest military commendation since the Vietnam War.

"He and others like him died so we could enjoy freedom," Considine said. "We're here today to honor the memory of those who would fight - and die, if necessary - for the sake of freedom. They fought to provide a strong national defense; they fought for their comrades to the right and left of them; they fought to protect America's core values, God, country, family, patriotism and heritage; and they fought so our children could grow up strong and free. The fought - and fight still - because it's the right thing to do. It's never done."

Pictured: Top- Posting the Colors at the local Memorial Day Ceremony, held at 1 pm, Monday, May 28, in front of the Bandera County Courthouse were members of Boy Scout Troop 1155 in Medina, Garrett Collins, American Flag; Ben Dabney, Texas Flag; and Wyatt Ellis, carrying the flag in remembrance of POWs and MIAs.

Middle- Photos by Judith Pannebaker
During the Presenting of the Poppies, those attending the Memorial Day Ceremony stepped forward to remember and honor deceased veterans of their families. As the names were called traditional crepe paper poppies were pressed into a white cross. According to Charlie Baker, Bandera County lost a staggering 98 veterans this past year.

Bottom- For the second consecutive year, retired Marine Corps Col. Marshall Considine III delivered the keynote address. Considine and his wife moved to Bandera County five years ago.